13 Vital Features of a Distribution Center in 2020

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In 2020, many consumer businesses, particularly those involved in E-commerce, require larger than ever distribution centers (warehouses) that provide the proper environment for short and long-term storage of materials and goods. Modern distribution centers must operate efficiently to reduce both initial and long-term costs.

Fox Blocks Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) exceed the design requirements of a modern-high-performing distribution center in all regions of the United States. Fox Blocks’ distribution centers can reduce building costs because Fox Blocks ICFs are quick and simple to install. Furthermore, Fox Blocks will lessen long-term expenses because they create energy-efficient, durable, and disaster-resistant structures, with superior indoor environmental quality (IEQ) for the workers and clients.

12 Crucial Tips for Building a Modern Distribution Center

1. Managing the Initial Building Costs of a Distribution Center

The overall cost of distribution center construction must consider the building's value and the amount of time and labor needed to finish the job. Therefore, opting for products or building systems that are time and labor efficient can considerably reduce building costs.

How Fox Blocks ICFs can lessen the building costs of a distribution center.

Fox Blocks ICFs furnish an all-in-one wall system that combines five steps into one, including attachment, air barrier, structure, insulation, and vapor retarder. This feature ensures easy and fast installation and saves from having to enlist the help of several different types of installers during the building of a distribution center.

Lowering the Long-Term Costs of a Distribution Center

2. Building an Energy-Efficient Distribution Center

Energy-efficient distribution centers will lessen energy use, which saves money over time. The design of an energy-efficient distribution center should include three essential elements:

  • Installation of continuous insulation (CI)
  • The application of a high-quality, air- and moisture-barrier
  • The use of high thermal mass products

CI and air- and moisture-barriers stop thermal bridging, increase the effective R-value, and prevent condensation. High thermal mass materials absorb and store heat energy and stabilize temperature shifts within the distribution center by slowing the rate of heat transfer.

Fox Blocks create energy-efficient distribution centers.

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Fox Blocks provide all the components needed to create an energy-efficient wall system for a distribution center.

Fox Blocks high thermal mass ICFs furnish an R-value of 23 that surpasses the requirements of the ASHRAE/ANSI 90.1 energy code.

3. Building a Moisture-Resistant Distribution Center

Application of a quality moisture- and air-barrier stops moisture infiltration and accumulation in the wall system of a distribution center. Moisture accumulation in the walls can cause wood rot, which can damage the integrity of the structure and leads to thousands of dollars in maintenance and repairs.

Fox Blocks prevent moisture accumulation in the walls of a distribution center.

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The Fox Blocks wall system includes solid-continuous-monolithic concrete with two-layers of continuous interior and exterior expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation. The concrete and EPS provide vapor- and air-barriers on both sides of the wall system - a feature that prevents moisture accumulation within the wall system.

4. Building a Termite-Resistant Distribution Center

For the long-term-structural integrity of a distribution center, the design must include termite resistance. Designers and builders of distribution centers should choose products that lack organic materials (like wood), which termites like to eat.

5. Building a Healthy Distribution Center with Excellent Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ)

Good IEQ reduces employee sick days, increases productivity, and protects the health of the employees. Good IEQ requires these two vital features.

  • The design must include air- and moisture-resistance that prevents moisture accumulation in the walls. Moisture in the walls can lead to unhealthy mold.
  • The design must avoid the use of materials with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), like Fox Blocks ICFs. VOCs cause eye, nose, and throat irritations, nausea, headaches, and damage to the kidneys, liver, and central nervous system.

6. Implement Advanced Technology

Implementing technologies such as RFID, barcode scanning, and automation to enhance tracking, efficiency, and accuracy are essential components of efficient distribution centers. Technology integration in a distribution center involves seamlessly merging systems like warehouse management software with fleet solutions like telematics systems and load boards. This integration aids real-time tracking of goods, enhancing visibility throughout the supply chain, streamlining operations, and ultimately improving efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Building a Disaster-Resistant Distribution Center

Disaster-resistant distribution centers are designed to protect the structure, the stored goods, and the workers - an essential feature that can save building owners money on expensive repairs and even rebuilding after a disaster. A disaster-resistant distribution center must provide wind-, flood-, fire-, and earthquake-resistance.

7. Wind-Resistant Distribution Center Construction

Wind-resistant distribution center design must include a continuous load path. A continuous load path protects the building’s structural integrity by transferring the lateral

(horizontal) forces that attack the walls and diaphragms (roof, floor, and shear walls), towards the foundation and into the ground. Wind-resistant design must also provide exterior walls that resist damage from flying debris.

Fox Blocks ICFs build wind-resistance distribution centers.

  • Distribution centers constructed with Fox Blocks ICFs maintain their integrity during severe winds of over 200 mph.

Fox Blocks wall systems protect against projectile debris traveling greater than 100 mph.

8. Flood-Resistant Distribution Center Construction

Flood-resistant distribution centers strive to protect stored items and equipment from water damage. Distribution centers located in a flood hazard area must be built to at least the minimum requirements as set forth by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Flood Resistant Design and Construction, ASCE 24-141.

The walls of a flood-resistant distribution center must include three vital characteristics:

  • High-vapor permeability with the ability to drain and dry in two directions.
  • Should resist water and limit the transport of water to adjacent materials.
  • Should maintain their original strength and dimension before and after a flood.

Why choose flood-resistant Fox Blocks ICF walls when building a distribution center?

Fox Blocks ICF creates solid continuous monolithic concrete walls that are moisture-resistant and permeable (perm rating below 1.0). Fox Blocks ICFs ensure that moisture which infiltrates the wall assemblies, dries out, and won’t travel to nearby spaces. Fox Blocks reinforced concrete construction also does not degrade when wet and so maintains its original integrity and shape when exposed to large amounts of moisture.

9. Fire-Resistant Distribution Center Construction

A distribution center design should include passive-fire-resistant construction that limits the spread of smoke and fire during a fire event. Passive fire protection includes smoke barriers, firewalls, horizontal assemblies, and fire partitions. Passive fire protection minimizes the spread of smoke and fire through vertical openings, like shafts and stairways. In the event of a fire, passive fire protection must stop the collapse of a distribution center.

Fox Blocks ICFs create fire-resistant distribution centers.

Fox Blocks ICFs furnish superior passive firewall protection. The 6-inch Fox Blocks provide anASTM E119 fire rating of four hours (twice the two-hour specification), and an ASTM E84 value for flame speed less than 25, and smoke development less than 450.

10. Earthquake-Resistant Distribution Construction

Distribution centers must remain functional and standing during and after an earthquake. The design of earthquake-resistant distribution centers includes shear walls, like those constructed with Fox Blocks ICFs, extending the full height of every side of the structure.

Three vital components of earthquake-resistant destruction center design:

  • Long walls provide more earthquake protection than shorter walls.
  • Solid walls furnish more earthquake protection than walls with windows and doors.
  • The earthquake-resistant design must include anchoring the shear walls to the foundation with steel reinforcing bars. This protects against severe sideways (lateral) in-plane forces that push the wall's top in one direction - while the bottom remains stationary or is forced in the other direction (racking the wall).

Design Features of a Functional Distribution Center or Warehouse

11. Distribution Center Size

The overall size of a distribution center must accommodate the weight of the stored products, the handling equipment, the shipping and receiving operations, and associated trucking - along with the needs of the distribution center employees and clients.

12. Flexible Design for Distribution Centers

Flexible design ensures accommodation of future operations and storage needs as a business’ goals change.

13. Distribution Center Floors

Distribution centers require concrete floors to carry wheel loads and resist the abrasion from the use of hard rubber and steel-wheeled forklift trucks. Also, distribution centers need flat and level floors for the safe operation of the high-lift equipment. To avoid slips and falls by employees and clients, a safe distribution center should include non-slip surface treatments on floors.

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In 2020, as E-commerce continues to grow, businesses need bigger, more financially-efficient and functional distribution centers. Fox Blocks ICFs provide a superior wall system for building a distribution center that saves on both construction costs and long-term expenses. Fox Blocks ICFs create safe, healthy, and durable structures for the protection of the building, the goods, and the occupants.